Canberra FC's Alex Oloriegbe was inconsolable after the club's grand final defeat. a week ago. Photo: Graham Tidy
CANBERRA FC striker Alex Oloriegbe was so distraught after last weekend's grand final defeat, he didn't leave home for three days.
Although the side went down in the decider, the ACT men's league champion gets a shot at retribution when it takes on Sydney United in the inaugural National Premier League play-offs.
A spot in the final four is up for grabs when Canberra FC takes on the NSW Premier League champions at Edensor Park on Sunday.
Alex Oloriegbe, right, gets a shot at redemption in the National Premier League play-offs. Photo: Graham Tidy
Canberra FC booked its place among Australia's best second-tier clubs courtesy of a record 21st league title and a comfortable seven-point margin over its nearest rival.
The biggest question mark will be how Canberra FC responds from last weekend's heart-breaking 2-0 grand final loss to arch rivals Canberra Olympic.
Neither side could find the net in the 90 minutes before Olympic scored twice in extra time to claim the championship.
Oloriegbe believes Canberra FC can use the pain from that defeat as motivation to show what it can do on the national stage.
''I was very disappointed,'' Oloriegbe said.
''I couldn't get out of the house for three days, I just locked myself in.
''This is an exciting challenge for us to test ourselves at the next level and a chance to get a better result in Sydney.''
Oloriegbe played a major part in Canberra FC's success during the league campaign with 22 goals from 23 appearances.
Canberra FC faces a Sydney United outfit brimming with A-League experience.
Striker Mirjan Pavlovic and defender Nathan Sherlock played with Wellington Phoenix and Sydney FC respectively last season, while veteran goalkeeper Paul Henderson has had stints with English clubs Bradford City and Leicester City.
Sydney United also has former Sydney FC captain and now Fox Sports commentator Mark Rudan calling the shots from the sideline.
Oloriegbe believes Canberra FC's stunning 3-2 upset of the Malaysian national team earlier this year shows the side is capable of rising to the challenge.
''We have nothing to lose,'' Oloriegbe said.
''It's the same feeling we had against Malaysia, we've just got to play our own game.
''Sydney United will be physical and we respect what they do, but I don't think we're going to be overawed.''
The winner between Canberra FC and Sydney United will face Brisbane league champion Olympic FC in the first semi-final next weekend.
South Hobart hosts Campbelltown City FC in the other semi-final with the grand final to be held on either October 12 or 13.
National Premier League play-offs: Sydney United v Canberra FC at Edensor Park, 3pm.